Mathematica Research Predicts CHIP Expansion
A study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. found that CHIP, which provides health insurance for 3.3 million U.S. children, may expand as more states "move their programs to full speed," the AP/Salt Lake Tribune reports. The federally funded study, "Implementation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program: Momentum Is Increasing After a Modest Start," found that although CHIP "began slowly," the program has "gain[ed] momentum," with growth "expected to accelerate as more states catch up." According to the report, 19 states began enrolling children before July 1998, accounting for 75% of enrollment in 1999, while three states -- Florida, New York and Pennsylvania -- that offered similar programs before CHIP began accounted for about 40% of enrollment in 1999. "States are considering new approaches to reach those who are potentially eligible but who remain uninsured," the report's authors concluded. In addition, researchers pointed out the "wide variation" in income eligibility requirements among states. While 12 states offer the program to families earning 150% of the federal poverty level, about $25,575 a year for a family of four, nine states offer CHIP to families earning 200% of the federal poverty level. Still, the report concluded that almost all states have "worked to make it easier" for families to enroll in CHIP than in Medicaid or other government assistance programs with simplified applications and less strict eligibility requirements. HHS has also "loosened" its initial rules, and states have "press[ed]" for additional "flexibility," the report found (AP/Salt Lake Tribune, 1/26). To view the study, go to http://www.mathinc.com/PDFs/schip1.pdf. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat to view the study.